A.D. is producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s follow up series to their 2013 hit “The Bible” which aired on The History Channel. The NBC premiere of the follow up series (A.D.), a sequel of sorts, opened strong with 9.5 million viewers; but fell shy to the ratings of its predecessor which aired on cable to 13 million viewers. With the Easter Sunday weekend leaving many alternatives for Christian audiences <i.e. ABC aired The Ten Commandments (6.8 million viewers), CNN aired the finale of their “Finding Jesus” series (doubling the normal ratings for their Sunday night time slot) and FNC re-aired to strong ratings the NGCs “Killing Jesus” based on the same titled bestselling book by famed FNC Host Bill O’Reilly> the ratings for A.D.s debut were solid. I suspect with less religious fair on television next week, the series will see a spike in viewership and ratings (equal to at least that of the Bible). We will find out if I am right or wrong on this assessment next week. In either event, A.D. carried the night during its debut as the #1 show on network television for Sunday 4/05/15.
As for my review of the Series Premiere itself, well I will wait instead until the finale to review the complete 12 episode season. However, I will give some of my initial thoughts on the debut episode titled “The Tomb is Open” below:
The opening sequence was a bit rushed, but after all the series is more or less intended as an adaptation of the Book of Acts (or Acts of the Apostles), and not a depiction of the gospels. That said, Adam Levy gave a solid performance as Peter, and Richard Coyle gave an excellent performance as the High Priest Caiaphas. In fact, I found the scenes of Caiaphas with his wife Leah (played by Jodhi May) and Joseph of Arimathea to be among the episodes most compelling moments. My only critique thus far is that Jesus mother and closest disciples/followers seem to be portrayed as holding out hope that he will rise from the dead as he prophesied. However from the gospel accounts, at least as I interpret them, though he prophesied these events it was not at all clear to his followers at the time what he meant until after the resurrection. But this is small nitpicking on my part; overall the show is off to a solid start and I am looking forward to watching the next episode.